Business Process Re-engineering

Following extensive study using on-line facilities regarding Business Process Re-engineering and the ways it can affect the people within organisations both positively and negatively this document aims to consider Business Process Re-engineering as a concept and its use whilst demonstrating the effects it has had within organisations. “Fundamental rethinking and radical design of business processes to achieve dramatic improvements in critical, contemporary measures of performance, such as cost, quality, service, and speed” (Hammer and Champy,1993).

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Frederick W Taylor in the 1880s suggested that management use process engineering methods to continually improve and increase the productivity of workers. He advocated the scientific selection, training and development of workers. He believed that developing a hearty spirit of co-operation between workers and management would ensure that the work would be carried out in accordance with the scientific selection. This approach led to dramatic increases in the productivity of workers by focusing on efficiency.

At this point it had not been investigated that the true success of an organisation depends fundamentally on the human resource. Bruce Kyle (2001) says “The importance he accorded the need to found decision making on empirical data, rather than on tradition or pre-conceived assumptions and axioms, is attested to by his famed metal-cutting experiments which continued for some twenty-six years. ” Despite the length of time between Frederick W Taylor’s theory and Business Process Re-engineering of today there are close links.

Positives and Negative headings have been used to consider the use of Business Process Re-engineering. Positive In cases where Business Process Re-engineering is used as a means to ensure employee buy-in it has proven to be effective. Where employees are involved in the process from the outset it can ensure that both the messages and actions remain constant. Whilst fairly unique in it’s ability to relocate it’s offices from London to Scotland “Cigna Corporation – UK achieved a 40 per cent reduction in operating costs within 18 months and the previous two week underwriting process became 15 minutes”(Peter Homa 1995).

“The use of selecting the “brightest and best” for re-engineering teams can create operational difficulties(…. ) However, also benefits from premier re-engineering teams through increased probability of success. A tour in CIGNA re-engineering was seen as part of a competency model for leadership”(Peter Homa 1995). This of course has a motivational effect on the people involved – a chance to shine and be part of the change process within their company. Human Resource Re-engineering Involving HR at the inception stage ensures that the people are never neglected in the face of what could appear to be a cost-cutting exercise.

HRR ‘human resource re-engineering’ has proven to be conducive to teamworking thereby engaging management and employees alike. An infrastructure set up such as team meetings/discussions, encourage individuals to air their concerns and self-evaluate assisting their perception and beliefs of what can be done better and what is being done well – this can then be passed onto senior management to allow them to evaluate facts prior to introducing any changes that may otherwise have caused stress and concern to their employees. Improving motivation and morale would be the main driver for this approach.

High morale produces improved results and continuity of service excellence/production. Discussions such as the above often lead to:- “minor changes such as improved coffee-making facilities, which provided an important symbol to the staff that their voices were being heard. It also resulted in more fundamental improvements such as enhanced pay awards”(McCabe and Knights 2000). Group Support Systems Another positive way of setting the scene prior to embarking on Business Process Re-engineering within a company can be evidenced by the use of technology – namely Group Support Systems (GSS).

A paper which identifies a business that embarked on GSS in this way in Australia details the ways that technology can be used in an anonymous yet constructive way to help to alleviate fears and answer questions within the organisation from any level. True in using this type of situation the important issues centre on “proper preparation and the right scenario” (Olivera Marjanovic 2000) otherwise further problems may be provoked with individuals using the anonominity as a vehicle to be personal or inappropriate.